Strange the power words can have isn't it. As a Mom with a teen daughter I'm all too aware of how careful you have to be with words. As relationships get forged, fray or unravel you need to be there to support your daughter through it all. It is a time of your life when you look at your most attractive without even trying, when you can throw anything on with a pair of jeans and look truly fabulous. Sadly, the competition amongst girls generally means that you seldom ever feel fabulous, someone always looks better than you. It can lead to you seeing yourself in a distorting mirror in your mind. It's easy to think 'So that's why I never get a date!'
Moms end up desperately trying to correct that reflection and it isn't easy. You yourself are acknowledged by your own children to be biased: 'You have to say that, you're my Mom'. It doesn't matter how many times I tell my youngest daughter that she's gorgeous, she prefers to consult the fairground distorting mirror in her head.
I can't blame her. I had a teenage hatred of mirrors too. This time real ones. For me it was the opposite way round. The ones in my head reflected me as the girl I knew myself to be. The real ones showed a boy I began to hate because he was, I knew, what every other person around me saw. Thank goodness that by some miracle, these days, the woman looking back at me out the mirror is me. I wouldn't call myself pretty but at least it feels alright now.
Mirrors are one thing, words are another. Mirrors show an image but you have to make up your mind how to respond to it. There's no knowing in reality how people will respond. When you start out your transition you just hope for the best.
The other day, one of my music fans wrote and said I looked gorgeous. He only has a posed picture of me. I meant to look at my best for that photo, but I was still ridiculously flattered. Then yesterday someone called me 'Gorgeous' in the street, not something you expect when you're walking down to the Post Office and not really making an effort. It wasn't intimidating, it was just nice, incredibly nice. A workman unloading equipment from a van was blocking the way. He smiled at me as he shifted his stuff and said 'Come on past, gorgeous'. Saying 'Thanks', I found myself blushing idiotically as I smiled back and walked past. My friend said he shouldn't have been blocking the way in the first place and he was just harassing me as men will (She hates having guys open doors for her, I love it!). Actually, it just felt really flattering. I loved it.
At the end of the day, compliments from a real person mean more than anything, especially if you're being accepted as you really are. Beauty is such a subjective thing and a mirror can never really tell you how people will actually respond. Trying telling that to a teenager though!